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Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm’s motion to dismiss accusations rebuffed by US DOJ

  • Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm’s motion to dismiss a criminal indictment received pushback from the US DOJ. 
  • The US Department of Justice charged two developers with conspiracy to commit money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitter and sanction violation. 
  • Authorities allege North Korea’s Lazarus Group and other criminal entities have laundered funds through the crypto mixer. 

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) accused Tornado Cash developers of conspiring to commit money laundering, conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitter and conspiring to violate sanctions law by the operation of a crypto mixing service. 

Developer Roman Storm seeked to dismiss charges against him, to no avail. The court filing from Friday describes how Tornado Cash advertised its service, saying it “allows you to send Ethereum cryptocurrency 100% anonymously using groundbreaking, non-custodial technology based on strong cryptography!”

Tornado Cash founders faced with criminal indictment in latest update

In its Friday court filing, the DOJ alleges that the founders and developers of the project relinquished their ability to control the mixing pools in May 2020. The filing describes Tornado Cash service as a money transmitter (and an unlicensed one). 

The transmitter transferred fixed-quantity customer deposits from one location to another, violating sanctions while developers conspire to operate the service, conspire to commit money laundering among other charges. 

The defense argued that developers had languished control and did not have access to block the Lazarus group or criminal entities from using the service. The key argument was that merely developing code for a project is not the equivalent of operating a money laundering entity. 

The Tornado Cash developer Storm is set to go to trial in September 2024 while co-founder and developer Semenov remains at large. Storm was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and charged in August 2023.

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